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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
August 23, 1943 Radio No. 129 [Quebec, Canada]
From Marshall for Eisenhower’s eyes only.
FAN 198 August 20th Reference. CCS suggestion concerning OSS and SOE in Sardinia was originally my proposal to give Donovan a chance to do his stuff without fear of compromising some operation in prospect. If he succeeds, fine, if not, nothing would be lost. Your reply NAF 337 August 22nd referred to landing craft, etc., with which my idea was not concerned.1 Meanwhile Donovan wants to do a job in Balkans. Why not let him make a real 5th Column try in Sardinia?2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. At the August 19 C.C.S. meeting, Marshall suggested that teams from William J. Donovan’s Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) and the British Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) operate in Sardinia in order to facilitate an unopposed Allied landing or to seize and defend certain strategic points. A modified version of the message Marshall proposed that the C.C.S. send to Eisenhower was approved on August 20 and sent as FAN-198. Eisenhower’s headquarters replied (NAF-337, August 22) that the Germans’ Sardinia garrison was too large (22,000 plus 6,400 flak troops) to permit fifth column activities on a scale sufficient to facilitate an unopposed landing. (Foreign Relations of the United States, Conferences at Washington and Quebec, 1943, pp. 893-94, 905, 1069; Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, 2: 1361.)
2. For Eisenhower’s reply, see Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, 2: 1360-61. Nothing came of Marshall’s suggestion, as German forces evacuated Sardinia between September 11 and 18.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 93.